Saturday, October 24, 2015

Another Conversion Experience

When I was a child,  I learned the Biblical story of Doubting Thomas.  He was a disciple of Jesus, and he did not have enough faith.  Thomas would not believe that the man he saw after Jesus death was truly Jesus, unless he saw the nail prints in his hands.  As a little girl, I was told that we need to have faith, believe in God even when we could not see him.  This also meant that I should be good very good, because God would know if and when I was bad, and if God knew I was bad, this was BAD very bad.

I went to tent meetings, these were meetings where huge tents were put up, and important men came to preach to us.  To tell us to repent of our evil natures,  to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour.  If we did this, then Jesus would live inside us, and help us to be good.  He would help us to have faith.  There were altar calls, mostly while we sang slowly very slowly,   "Just as I am without one plea,  but that thy blood was shed for me,  and now though callst me come to thee, oh lamb of God I come.."  at least I can hear those words, I can hear them slowly being sung, over and over, until I thought enough people had gone up.  Sometimes the man, the preacher said, I know you are out there,  I know you are feeling called, come, come now before it is too late,  and we would go.  I would go.

I would go to the front, to be saved.  I got saved many times.  Sometimes I got saved and felt hopeful that maybe this time it would take, maybe this time I would be saved enough, acceptable enough, not too evil anymore.

Somewhere along the line,  I got to know this Jesus who was going to save me from my "badness".. I got to know him as a wonderful role model of social justice.  I got to know him as someone who had been imperfect, had suffered, was despised, like me, I wondered,  for not being right.  He was killed the stories say for not following the rules of the men in power, for not accepting the rules that he saw hurt vulnerable people.

Somewhere along the line,  I learned that I was one of those he accepted just as I was human, imperfect and all.

I learned that another conversion was called for a conversion to self love, to compassion not only for the other, but even more importantly, perhaps, for me.  I understood in a new way the story of the cross and Jesus crying out in compassion for himself and his suffering.  I came to understand another verse from my childhood, the one that said " love your neighbour as yourself"  and I was surprised that  I had not learned the love yourself part in Sunday School.

This conversion has taken a long time, is still happening.  I know that if I see myself as a part of the whole, if I show compassion to myself I am more compassionate and open hearted to others.  I know many things and I am beginning to feel them more fully.

This conversion calls me to see the interconnectedness of all beings,  to see that I am one with the earth, with the animals, with the Syrian people, with you.

The other day as the dolphins, swam, walked beside me on the shore here in Somers,  they invited me to notice just how connected we are.    Today as I walked on the beach and long to see them, they remind me to continue to believe even when I cannot see the nail prints.

gkn october 2015

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